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tv   [untitled]    February 24, 2011 2:30am-3:00am PST

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the ada. this is an ongoing obligation every year, and i am happy to take questions if you have them. president murphy: questions? seeing none. >> i just wanted to respond to the commissioner about making a list about what businesses are fully compliant. i think one of the unique issues with this particular item is that, for an example, with parking lots and the striping, they just changed the color. i think it just went from blue to white. if you did not update your parking lot, now you are out of
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compliance. i think the idea is a really great suggestion. if it is a program you can implement or it is a certain time that businesses get an acknowledgement -- but then they have to revisit because of ongoing changes in code that businesses are going to be required to stay up with. commissioner lee: i have a question about obligation. does the landlord and the tenant sure the obligation, or is it just the tenant or the landlord? >> the landlord and tenant share the obligation. most landlords put it in their commercial leases that all 88
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or accessibility requirements are required to be done by the tenant. that is generally in commercial leases. commissioner lee: how is our out reach going? do we just target the tenants? i know there is a lot of landlords that are not residents of the city. a lot of business owners, maybe english is not their first language. how do we out reach? >> our outreach is going to take place in phases. as i mentioned, we have been doing some more obvious out reach, working with our neighborhood organizations and business organizations. we are doing a mailing at the
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end of this month with the tax and treasurer's office to all of the restaurants. we have translated into six languages some information to bring awareness around accessibility requirements. that is going to be part of the department of public health permit renewal. we are specifically targeting restaurants because they are one of the sectors -- we see a high number of them being sued at this particular time. in terms of our office, a lot of our materials will definitely be translated into chinese and spanish. as we are able to, we will translate them into russian, vietnamese, singala, and i want
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to go back and do a translation in japanese for a lot of our japanese restaurants. as much as we possibly can, our education and outreach materials will be in other languages. >> on the category of having a listing of those that complied, is there a database or resource file that basically addresses similar compliances? for example, four-inch resolutions, where a transition in step really applies to a restaurant, a residence, and a bunch of other buildings -- it is more solution-based information, as opposed to those that have been allowed to be permitted.
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i guess what i am trying to say is that it is solution-based. a home owner or property owner can do it themselves, or look at the solution-based inspection on their own part before they moved to the next category. >> if i am understanding your question correctly, we do not have an actual database, except for the access appeals commission to maintain a list of types of appeals that have been presented. by category, probably the first is garage height. a lot of downtown buildings were built before there was any requirement for that. there often is some kind of requirement or appeal for
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entries. more often than not, it requires the ability to change one entry. the building will find a second entry. i do not know if that specifically answers your question. >> what i am trying to say is if we have a database of those that have permitted and allowed for meeting ada, both on state and -- >> i think my answer would stay the same. the only searchable database we currently have is through the texas appeals commission. we record each case and make a note in the file, addressing the problem in the case. as far as our regular dbi
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database, i am not sure it is equipped right now to do those kind of searches, based on the description. >> in case i do not speak again, i would like to say your questions have been very well put. particularly, the president of the commission was very direct. synched questions. i enjoyed them. thank you. >> as i have studied this issue for the last three years, i have looked around the different neighborhoods -- the mission, north beach, a chinatown. i am always cruising for access, just looking. just about every business that i frequent, i look at the different access points. i noticed that some streets in chinatown, the oldest
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neighborhoods in the city -- there are sidewalks that are graded -- that are graded to the entry level of these historic buildings. with the department of public works here and with the major sidewalk projects that will be coming up, sidewalk improvement projects, is there an opportunity to work with some of our older neighborhoods, particularly low-income or outlying neighborhoods, with sidewalk repair and grading to eliminate these four-inch steps at the same time? >> our responsibility stops at the front door, usually. i know this question comes up a lot. one of the possible solutions is always to change the sidewalk.
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the building has to eliminate the step barrier itself, but at least if you get an entry that is reasonably level from the sidewalk you can cope with it. for reasons that make perfect sense, the department of public works is usually resistant to doing that. it creates a sometimes a worse hazard to have an undulating sidewalk going down the street. people do not pay attention. they slip and fall. they get to a landing and that part is ok, but the sidewalk continues to undulate the rest of the way down at every landing. i do not know if mr. qwang is still here. >> i see this would not work at hills. this solution would only be appropriate for flat or level sidewalks. but we do have them on the
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avenues. there is lower 24th street. thank you. >> you are welcome. president o'brien: i would like to make a couple of comments here. clearly, handicapped access is only going to become an even bigger topic as we go forward. it is going to become more relevant. people need to deal with it. i want to give recognition to director dick-endrizzi and the small business commission. the work they have put in has been going on since before i even joined the small business commission. i just want to summarize what i think are really important points for people who are listening to this, and especially the people on the outside who are watching it on sfgtv. you have a choice if you have a
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small business. you can either be scared of lawsuits and pretend and hope it will never come to your doorstep, and wait for it to happen, in which case you will not control the destiny as much anymore. it is going to be somebody who is trying to be opportunistic at your cost. the second choice is, excuse me, you can get educated on it and take some evasive action. now you control the process and become handicapped access compliant. the last thing i would say is the most important point that can be summarized in here is this. this ability access is a smart investment, because your business will be less vulnerable to drive-by lawsuits. you will have a growing clientele, including those in wheelchairs' or with baby
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strollers. the average cost to remove a barrier to access is $4,000. the average cost to settle a lawsuit, including the expense of paying your attorney, is $30,000. i think in a business sense, it is a no-brainer. i just want to get that word out there. >> well said. president murphy: thank you, neil. public comments? i believe you have three minutes. >> cameron wells, contractor. i have some questions. can i get and ada permit? i want to know what a casp
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inspection costs. i want to strengthen the structure of my business. does that trigger the business if it is the landlord doing the work? does the landlord have to pay? how does that work? >> the first one about ada -- president murphy: can you repeat the question so everyone understands it? >> the question was whether you can get a permit for ada. there is no permit for ada. ada is an ongoing process. it does not end, regardless of the age of the building, until the barriers are removed. as far as the permit goes, the department of justice does not issue permits. all they are is an enforcement agency.
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they hear complaints. casp certification -- maybe susan can address that. regina? >> susan. the casp inspector is well- positioned. i just wanted to be clear that you made it sound like the ada will never be met, but that is not the case. if you have been able to bring your business up to code compliance, usually a casp inspector will be able to tell you what that involves. then you are really well protected from any lawsuits. you have met your obligation under the ada. the ada does change, but it is not very often. it has taken 18 years for there to be new regulations issued under the ada. most of those applied to
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recreational facilities. unless your private business is a recreational facility, most changes will not apply to you. i do not want to make compliance sound like it is this monumental, impossible standard to meet. a casp inspector is tested on both title 24 and ada standards, and should in theory be able to provide you with what you need to do in order to satisfy your obligations. >> thank you. commissioner lee: could i ask the understanding of the casp inspector? if a business or landlord goes through the process and gets the inspector to certify everything and a lawsuit happens anyway, will the inspector stand up and say, "this should be dismissed, because i think this building is fine"?
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>> i can take the first stand at answering this. we do not have a lot of experience with this new law, sb-1608. as regina very well outlined, the process is that if the casp inspector has signed off and said, "you are in compliance. given the constraints of your building, you have done everything," if you are sued, he is expected to come and say, "here is my basis for signing off on this report." what we expect is that a casp inspector will say, "here are the things we think you need to do, and it is readily achievable for you to do the first three in this year and two more next year, and then you have a few
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left when you get sued." that is when this delay in the court process, where the early evaluation conference is critical -- what the theory behind the law is is that you can show good faith. i got this report. based on my economic situation, i have been making progress on this report overtime. i have been acting in good faith. we hope the court will persuade any plaintiff that they are not going to win in a lawsuit. that will make the lawsuit disappear. president murphy: any further questions? commissioner walker: given a
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sense -- could we get a cost of the inspections? >> it varies. it can vary from one dozen dollars for a small restaurant -- $1,000 for a small restaurant to $4,000 for a medium-sized hotel. it depends on the problem. i have never seen a business that is fully compliant. usually, there are two different kinds of certificates you can get. one is, "i inspected it and these are the things you need to do." making that good faith effort goes a long way in helping achieve a mediation are a settlement if it does go to court. i think the people that are doing the drive-bys and
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exploiting the situation are looking for people who are making no effort at all. that has sort of been my experience, that those who are making a good-faith effort usually are a lot further ahead. even so much as -- i have had clients who have received these letters saying that there is a problem with their business. one business ignored the letter. they got sued and went to court. the other business immediately contacted them and said, "i am good to figure out what is wrong and i am going to fix it," and did not get sued. that is sort of how that works. i want to set a couple of other things. the commissioner was talking about how people can do their own self-analysis or get information. there is information out there. there are things i think the building department can do to help that along. ada.gov, the department of justice website on the ada --
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there are lots of these resources on the small business commission website. you can go there and they have a number of pamphlets for small businesses that give examples of how to solve problems. there are a lot of the equivalent facilitation kinds of things. if you can't get in, what can you do? there are things like curbside service. it boils down to common sense. there must be some way you can serve people. even on the texas appeals commission, we have gone to wear a business was on the second floor. there was no way to get in that business at all. the existing business can provide home service, or something like that. just trying to figure out a way to do that. in terms of dbi and how it can help people, they could make better use of their home
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resources. there is one casp certified inspectors in the department. i studied with him. he was taken out of the access appeals commission. he has nothing to do with access. that is not a good use of your own resources. i know i may use of several -- make use of several hot lines all the time. the department of justice has an 88800 number you can call to get free information about the ada. if they do not know, they send you over to architecture transportation barriers compliance board, who actually wrote the ada. i did that this morning trying to figure out how you define "firm." they have an 800 number in washington. they will give you free
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information. it is there. all you have to do is call. the department of building inspection, you can call up a number. there is a person at the counter there to give a free information about the building code. your options are, and you can have a plan and start working towards it.
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at least you are moving towards accessibility, which is what every body needs a very good -- every but they need 3 did the department could also provide workshops for the public curio -- for the public. we taught a workshop, and we showed an example. the more people start thinking about accessibility, they will come up with their own solutions, because it is not really rocket science. as far as highlighting businesses, it is an interesting idea. i am not sure how people to the.
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-- how people do that. getting that information will make it so people can look at how people solve the problem, because it is really just problem-solving and a sixth of. >> any further questions? >> have you ever encountered in a situation that could never be solved, given the few just say, given seven out of faith, the eighth one will be insurmountable? >> skycam mentioned, there was one project that came through -- as i mentioned, there was one business that came through there
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was no way. we would recommend other businesses that are acceptable or provide home delivery. i did one project where they put an intercom at the street level, and there is no way to put an elevator to the small restaurant at the second floor, press the button, and we will take your order, which is one of the things that the department of justice recommends. they will say, we cannot, but we will give you someone else who can, but we cannot do it. >> public comments? >> i would like to thank you for
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spending this time, and i would like to congratulate your staff for doing a lot of work and in the last two or three years. there is a lot to do, and i do not think we are half way there yet. the biggest problem they have is when they do nothing. the person who wants to use the service is very angry when they send a letter and they get blown off, and they go to a lawsuit it gives the right -- go to a lawsuit. it gives the right of responsibility, but there is no other action. there is no public body that will enforce this.
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the 16 08 is of limited value. there is a way to do it, and the more the city staff helps them to see a way to do it, the easier it is to move toward saying, i am going to see what it takes if you cannot fix anything, that may not as expensive as it would have been.
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i am happy to see you are focusing on restaurants as a place to start. all of the early lawsuits were again restaurants, because they make so many changes to keep customers coming, and they were the first people to be sued, so i think they are the best group to start with. they have a lot of customers, and they have great responsibilities. i would hope dbi can go further than that sending out notes curator -- sending out notes. i looked at it. if i got it, i might put it on
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the long list from my a a very good -- from my bank. i would like to see them expend to a larger range of small businesses and work their way up to see if you can hit 50,000 or some number. the other way is to let the small businesses know you can do some facilitation. the fire department figures out how to make your place more accessible. the one thing they can do this address this. it is something not accessible very good they think they are ok, t

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